ALISTAIR Carmichael has ruled himself out as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats as the party attempts to rebuild after its collapse at the polls on Thursday.
The decision by the former Scottish Secretary, who narrowly held on to his Orkney and Shetland seat, leaves the way open for a two-way contest between former party president Tim Farron and Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.
We have a big rebuilding task ahead of us and I want to play a partAlistair Carmichael
Carmichael cited concerns over the travel distance from his islands constituency as the main reason not to stand.
The election saw the Lib Dems punished for their part in the coalition, with their number of MPs reduced from 57 to eight, including ten seats lost in Scotland.
Carmichael told Scotland on Sunday: “We have a big rebuilding task ahead of us and I want to play my part in that but I don’t think I’m the right man to lead the party.”
He said he was “flattered” by the number of people who had asked him to run, but insisted it needed to be an MP able to travel the country and begin the fightback.
Farron has said he will decide “in the next few days” whether to throw his hat in the ring to succeed Nick Clegg.
Seen as the frontrunner to become the new leader, Farron said he was determined to play a “big role” in rebuilding the party after its disastrous showing in the general election.
“I am listening to members and activists, our other parliamentarians in Westminster, the European Parliament, Scotland and Wales, and hearing their views.
“My job, surely, is to respond to that and I will do so in the next few days,” he told Sky News.
“I am ruling nothing in and nothing out. Our party absolutely must survive and thrive and I am determined to play a big role in making sure that happens. What role that is, is up to the members.”
Clegg resigned as Lib Dem leader on Friday.